Filing reveals sealed charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Britain, May 19, 2017.

Peter Nicholls / Reuters

This evening, it became clear that the Justice Department either had already filed charges against Julian Assange under seal, or was preparing them. First the Wall Street Journal reported that preparations were under way, and then Seamus Hughes pointed out a court filing that mentions the WikiLeaks cofounder.

PACER court filing

While the filing is for another case, as journalist Mike Levine suggests, it’s possible that prosecutors used a filing against Assange as a template and forgot to correct the name in this section. That’s more than just a thought, however, because the Washington Post reports, based on anonymous sources, that the details released in the filing were true but unintentionally included.

A Swedish investigation into rape allegations spurred Assange’s years-long stay inside Ecuador’s UK embassy, and while prosecutors have reportedly considered filing charges against him for quite some time, it’s unknown exactly what these might include. The possibility that he could be charged for having or publishing classified material could have wider implications for journalism, and will keep eyes on the situation if these are made public or the US tries to extradite him. For now, Assange remains in the same place he’s been since 2012.

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